stammerheadshark * blog about living with an acquired neurogenic stammer

You’d think I’d be getting used to this by now…

Posted on: August 3, 2009

That’s what I had thought. And I really truly thought I was used to the stammer. Until I find myself challenged by it.

It wasn’t even anything serious, just struggling to get a word in edgeways while bantering with the boyfriend.

I forget now on a day-to-day basis what an effort it is to get my words out – in that sense, I have become used to the stutter – but with interruptions it’s really hard.

If there’s the slightest background noise or interruption, I feel like I’m fighting against myself to get the words out before I forget what it is I wanted to say. Which I guess is understandable, given that it now takes three, four times as long to get my words out.

The problem is that social interactions just aren’t set up for that kind of delay. Humour is incredibly reliant on timing.

I really miss being able to toss in witty comments at the drop of a hat. I miss being able to be funny in a group situation.

You’re always waiting for an appropriate break in the conversation to get the words out without being interrupted, by which point the moment has usually passed – the witty remark no longer relevant.

It’s silly really, but it’s these things – not being able to joke, not being able to sing along to the radio – the things that you’d ordinarily do without noticing; these things make me feel like a piece of me is missing.

The trouble is that I’m not sure what you call that “piece”;  it’s certainly not personality, I’d sincerely hope that that’s still there in spades. It’s more like an extension of your persona; the minutiae that collectively enhance your personality, but more importantly allow a person to express themself.

I think that’s probably it. I now struggle vocally to express myself, limited in communicative activities – but would have to recognise the value I’ve rekindled in writing.

Seriously, without writing this whole experience would have been a nightmare.

It’s a saving grace when my speech disappears for days on end, allowing me to scribble on the backs of envelopes or key out reams of text on my phone when unintelligible grunts can’t convey what I want to say.

Also, it’s become quite therapeutic; allowing me to express how I’m feeling and reflect upon that rather than having thoughts swim constantly around my head.

So in a way, as much as this blog is a hope that someone, somewhere who’s going through something similar might find it and not feel quite so alone – it’s also a counsellor. One that doesn’t ask awkward questions I’m not sure how to answer, but one that hopefully won’t let me forget this either.

That might sound odd, but through all the hurdles this brain injury has presented me with I’m starting to lose track of everything that’s happened.

I had hoped to get everything down in chronological order, but everytime I go to write some more on What actually happened to me… I just recoil at the thought of not knowing where to start.

I’m going to make a concerted effort to tell that story, before I find I can’t fully remember how I’ve become this way.

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1 Response to "You’d think I’d be getting used to this by now…"

Hi, thought I’d comment here rather than on Tom’s blog. Send me an email to dtr@dmu.ac.uk if you want to be in touch. Not sure how much internet access I’ll have from Brazil. Also on facebook! Thanks for the kind words about the SLT course. I don’t know anyone locally (Leicester not Rio!) with neurogenic stuttering, but as they say, I’ll ask around. All the best, Dave

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